\ˈkrān \

Definition of crane 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1 : any of a family (Gruidae of the order Gruiformes) of tall wading birds superficially resembling the herons but structurally more nearly related to the rails

2 : any of several herons

3 : an often horizontal projection swinging about a vertical axis: such as

a : a machine for raising, shifting, and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead track

b : an iron arm in a fireplace for supporting kettles

c : a boom for holding a motion-picture or television camera


craned; craning

Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to raise or lift by or as if by a crane

2 : to stretch toward an object of attention craning her neck to get a better view

intransitive verb

1 : to stretch one's neck toward an object of attention I craned out of the window of my compartment— Webb Waldron

2 : hesitate


biographical name (1)
\ˈkrān \

Definition of Crane (Entry 3 of 5)

(Harold) Hart 1899–1932 American poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Crane (Entry 4 of 5)

Stephen 1871–1900 American writer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Crane (Entry 5 of 5)

Walter 1845–1915 English artist

Illustration of crane

Illustration of crane


crane 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crane

Synonyms: Verb

boost, elevate, heave, heft, heighten, hike, hoist, jack (up), lift, perk (up), pick up, raise, take up, up, uphold, uplift, upraise

Antonyms: Verb

drop, lower

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Examples of crane in a Sentence


We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Leap from a giant crane, a gazillion feet in the air, straight into the window of a skyscraper that’s on fire? Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Dwayne Johnson Scales New Heights in Skyscraper," 12 July 2018 Fox, along with host broadcaster HBS, also have at their disposal two behind-the-goal cranes, a helicopter aerial for each match, several wireless cameras, and two ultra-mini high-frame-rate pole-cams behind each goal. Chad Finn,, "How to watch the World Cup, and what you’ll see," 13 June 2018 Around him mechanical cranes whir, hoisting employees looking for products on towering shelves. Nomaan Merchant,, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018 Trump’s support was on display on a recent morning shift as giant overhead cranes transported the solid steel hulls down a line manned by dozens of workers. David S. Cloud,, "Fat Pentagon budget brings jobs to struggling Ohio tank factory — and a political payoff for Trump," 2 July 2018 The port’s existing cranes can handle containers six high while reaching across 16 containers on a deck. David Lyons,, "Proposed super cranes to increase cargo volume at Port Everglades," 29 June 2018 That won’t be required this year, because the state will be using different equipment and smaller cranes. Adam Vaccaro,, "Lane reductions on the Mass. Pike end.," 23 Apr. 2018 Though these majestic cranes have had federal protection under the Endangered Species Act for almost 50 years, Kurose said the other three flocks have had difficulty keeping their chicks alive. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Trump's budget cuts whooping crane breeding program, but Texas' population largely spared," 26 Feb. 2018 Next to it, the blue scaffolds of an indoor crane resemble a launchpad gantry. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There was Ovechkin, eyes shut and neck craned skyward, reacting as the Capitals finally advanced past the second round last month. Alex Prewitt,, "Alex Ovechkin 'Possessed' in High-Energy Game 3 Performance," 3 June 2018 At certain hours, children craned their necks up at the astronomical clock tower in the main square to see sculptures of the three magi emerging on a carousel. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "This Italian Town Once Welcomed Migrants. Now, It’s a Symbol for Right-Wing Politics," 7 July 2018 The player craned his neck around the top of the Cup and smiled. Rick Maese,, "Capitals' T.J. Oshie holds back tears as he shared the Stanley Cup with his dad," 8 June 2018 As that magic hum echoes through Suite 28 above the front straightaway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rod Polston's head is on a swivel, his neck is craning to move his ears closer to the show. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "What a blind man gets from the Indy 500: 'That gasoline thunder'," 24 May 2018 Large crowds gathered Monday night along the Detroit River and on Belle Isle, craning their necks to see the annual Ford Fireworks display. Hasan Dudar, Detroit Free Press, "Boom! Firework display awes huge crowd in Detroit, Belle Isle, Windsor," 25 June 2018 But those traveling east on the road have to crane their necks to see approaching eastbound traffic coming over a hill on the turnpike. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury Looking To Align Douglas Road And Sycamore Street," 11 July 2018 The lines aren't as long and visitors won't have to contend with thousands of tourists all craning their neck to see the same thing. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Traveling Sistine Chapel exhibit reopens in Houston after a brief hiccup," 5 July 2018 The sound of the live broadcast on state television cut after the blast, and people in the crowd could be seen craning their heads in the direction of the sound. Paul Schemm, Washington Post, "Attacker throws grenade at massive rally for Ethiopia’s new reformist leader," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crane


Middle English cran, from Old English; akin to Old High German krano crane, Greek geranos, Latin grus

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Learn More about crane

Dictionary Entries near crane







crane fly

Phrases Related to crane

crane operator

Statistics for crane

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crane

The first known use of crane was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for crane



English Language Learners Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a big machine with a long arm that is used by builders for lifting and moving heavy things

: a type of tall bird that has a long neck and long legs and lives near water



English Language Learners Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch out (your neck) in order to see better


\ˈkrān \

Kids Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs

2 : a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavy weights


craned; craning

Kids Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch the neck to see better Neighbors craned out the window to see the parade.

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Comments on crane

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lying above or upon

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